Ted L. Clontz

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Giles, James Richard, 1937-

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of English


American fiction--History and criticism; Literature and society--United States--History--20th century; Cities and towns in literature; City and town life in literature; Time in literature


This study of post-World War II American urban novels takes as its basis M. M. Bakhtin's concept of the chronotope, or time-space, to examine changes in urban representations in the novel during the 50 years or so following the end of the war. Bakhtin bases the chronotope on Einstein's theory of relativity, leading to his assertion that each literary and, especially, novelistic genre would have its own perception of time and space. Furthermore, because humans live in time and space, the ways in which these two aspects are represented in a literary work limit and control the representations within the overall text, all of which makes the chronotope ideal for studying not only genre, but individual works as well. Combining the chronotope with works on historical and social issues of time, space and identity by Edward Soja and David Harvey, this study examines how time and space inform each other in literary texts. The texts chosen are from a variety of authors representing various ethnic and social backgrounds. This variety allows for the demonstration of how urban representations have moved both away from the city space as a place of alienation inhabited by the “other” and how figurative representations of that space have shifted in conjunction with social changes in postwar America. These various authors allow, also, for the demonstration of how, with the redefining of space, more varied and changing perceptions of time have appeared in literary works. Taken together the changing perception of urban space and time have helped forge new aesthetics for representing the changing American urban reality.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [249]-255)


255 pages




Northern Illinois University

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